The Attraction is Electrifying
This episode really moved the season along for me, even though it left far more questions for next week than solid answers this week. Perhaps the best (most psychotic, troubling, over-the-top?) thing we saw this week was Franklin’s psychopathic courtship of Tara, ending in his creepy proposal. I’ve expressed my reservations about writing the only black woman on the show into one abusive relationship after the next and I continue to be wary of what might come of it. But Franklin’s speech to Russell did a lot to clue us in that the writers are at least aware of what they are doing: Franklin is attracted to Tara because she is equally as screwed up as he is. According to Franklin, they are “like twins.” I’m not sure I’d go that far, but there is something really honest about admitting just how fucked up Tara’s life is and showing us where things could go by giving us James Frain in all of Franklin’s brilliant insanity. Tara has been living with a Franklin for most of her life, and her own precipitous fall toward replicating her mother’s abusive patterns is what led her to the one-night stand that got her where she is now. Please hear me: I’m not suggesting Tara is getting what is coming to her. Rather, she is stuck in a spiraling pattern set up by a lifetime of self-hate and self-doubt. And in another sad fact of her life, thanks to all her preparation living with a crazy mother, she might just have the know-how to survive Franklin, and hopefully start the serious therapy course she desparately needs. And while I really, really don’t condone psychopathic abusive relationships, I could watch James Frain slide from anger to ecstasy to paranoid violence all day long.
Of course, Tara’s potential vampire marriage is only one small piece in a plot-packed episode. Alongside her dangerous liaison, we have the continued unraveling of Bill Compton. On the one hand, it appears he has not sold himself to the dark side completely. He breaks Russell’s jail and rushes to Sookie’s side to warn her (and, um, he can really kick some ass! I hope we get to see more and more of this Bill). He appears to have abandoned all hope for himself (whatever that means), but has not forsaken all the human feelings he worked so hard to re-cultivate. On the other hand, there are those pictures and papers Franklin found in his desk. Russell’s theory that Bill is trying to figure out the origins of Sookie’s supernatural powers seems plausible enough, as does his surmise that somewhere there is a profit in the search. If this proves true, what does it mean about Bill’s relationship to Sookie in the first place? And what role does Sophie-Anne play in it all? (speaking of which, I have not been a huge fan of the Queen, but I am excited for her return next week if for no other reason than to see Russell attempt to woo her).
Vampire politics, however, are unlikely to be solved by marriage alone. In that magnificent campy flashback to Eric’s youth we see that the arc of Viking justice is long and bends toward vengeance, even 1,000 years later. If there is one storyline I am most excited about, it is to see Eric’s careful pursuit of long-sought revenge. Russell is a formidable foe, but my money is on Eric.
The real mystery of the episode is the return of Sookie’s flashy-hands trick. What is that? And what does it mean about our sweet southern telepath? Alan Ball has promised to reveal “what” Sookie is (no spoilers, readers of the books) and I am hoping we get into that revelation sooner rather than later, so we can see what other dimensions it opens.
I could also use with a faster pace in the other Bon Temps plots. A lot of other bloggers have been dissing the Bon Temps story lines, and I am in agreement to a point. My interest isn’t nearly as captivated by Jason and Crystal or Sam and his family as the various plots unfolding in Jackson. That said, knowing a bit more about where Crystal is coming from, I am in holding out hope that things could get really good in that story. And there is clearly something much bigger and much creepier going on with the Minkens and the sooner we learn what it is, the better.
Even if this episode was more of a set up and a tease, I am right there with Franklin: the attraction is electrifying and it is only getting better every week.
Posted by Kathryn.